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The Leading Role Award: The ComeBack Kid Society

by Bethany Dumbleton

The Leading Role Award

The ComeBack Kid Society: Taking A Stand Against Poverty

Kendal Kelly refuses to sit and watch Oklahoma City youth robbed of purpose and destiny.

The ComeBack Kid Society, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2018. After working with teens for 18 years in both the church setting as well as jail setting, and watching so many teens fall through the cracks that were just needing a second chance, she decided to step in and bring others along the journey to help fill the gap..

I know he stopped answering the phone because he can’t afford an attorney…

Kendal told me when she heard those words come from one of the girls she was mentoring at the OKC Barry House,

That lit a fire in me, I refused to allow another kid like her fall through the cracks due to poverty.” 

The young girl Kendal was mentoring was 17 years old and had told her in their first meeting that she was married and had gotten locked up because of her husband, who was 18. She told her that he had gone into a convenience store to get snacks. They had not gotten a mile down the road after leaving before they were put into the back of patrol cars; that’s when she found out that he had actually robbed the place. Kendal said,

“She proceeded to tell me that the judge gave her 2 options. The first option was to write a letter ratting out her husband, saying she was unaware of what he was doing,”

This was a problem for her because if she ratted him out, she knew the members of the gang he was in would kill her, so going to juvy wasn’t the worst option.

Kendal continues,

“Her second option was to go to Mable Basset, a local women’s prison when she turns 18, which was only 2 weeks away from our meeting.  She started bawling telling me that she didn’t know what to do. Her dad had told her he would get her an attorney but he had stopped answering the phone.”

And that’s when she heard those words,

“I know he stopped answering because he can’t afford an attorney.”

So, Kendal got to work

comeback kidThe ComeBack Kid Society offers free group mentoring programs and 1:1 mentors for students ages 11-18. In their programs (which you can see here) they primarily focus on character development, life skills, job preparation, goal setting, and emotional intelligence. They are currently running their group programs in 3 juvenile detention centers, partner with a Drug and Alcohol facility for teens, and host a program for the Community at City Center in Bethany, Oklahoma. 

Their 1:1 mentors are located throughout all parts of Oklahoma. The ComeBack Kid Society also offers a school lunch program as well as hosting a Community Service outreach every 3rd Saturday of the month, where are students and volunteers come together and make lunch and pass it out for our Homeless Community.

The best part about it

Kendal told me,

“Watching students come alive and begin to believe that they are worthy of 2nd chances and worthy to step into the purpose that was destined for them. I don’t think you can accurately describe the feeling of watching our students, who come into our programs with hard shells around them to protect themselves from people, open up and show how loving, kind, smart, and funny they truly are. And then, actually begin to believe those things about themselves.”

group picture kids

Make a difference for someone

Kendal has such an amazing heart, so we know that The ComeBack Kid Society (CKS) has to be filled with people who are like-minded. I am always wanting to know how to encourage others to also make a difference. Kendal put it quite simply,

“All you have to do is love the one in front of you. Start there. And then begin to invite others to do the same and not only will your lives begin to transform, so will those around you. If you see a need or a gap, fill it. It’s that simple. God will always sustain when he asks you to manage. As you step into obedience he provides everything that you need to continue what He has entrusted to you.”

Do what you can – and make it count

Meeting all of the needs every time is not possible, however, we can do more than just pray. I believe Kendal made a great point when she told me,

I think sometimes we have this mindset that as believers we are just supposed to be getting people saved, but I think we should go a step further and help people actually thrive and step into all that God has for them. Jesus did not just meet spiritual needs, he also met physical and tangible needs.”

So, at The ComeBack Kid Society, that’s what they strive to do. They are giving kids the tools they need to not only spiritually thrive, but to have a prosperous and fulfilling future while they are here on Earth. Kendal has major dreams – and we believe they are motivated by a genuine love for people and for God. She hopes to see CKS in cities all around the United States so that the transformation they have witnessed can take place for as many students as possible.

God has done huge things already

kids fun povertyKendal has watched the kids who have come to them broken due to abuse and poverty, with severe trust issues. A lot of these students basically hated people in general. However, after being paired with a mentor and attending their programs, they are some of the friendliest kids and are typically the first ones to welcome in the new students. It’s a lovely ripple effect! 

Kendal tells us,

“I hope that CKS continues to be a place where not only students can come and grow but leaders as well. That leaders and students alike would call us family and home. Those leaders would confidently step into giftings they didn’t even know they had as they volunteer.”

The best way to get involved

The ComeBack Kid Society (CKS) is only possible because of its incredible volunteers who choose to spend their time and talents with us and the students. CKS wouldn’t run if it weren’t for them choosing to love the kids in all their programs week in and week out. They are the real heroes. Since their doors have opened they have had incredible people come and help lay the foundations year after year. Kendal tells us,

“We cant wait to see what God will continue to do as we serve the city!”

So if you live in the Oklahoma City area, become a mentor! The ComeBack Kid Society is GROWING and seeing more students coming to them from different parts of the city, begging for a mentor. They loving what is being offered and want to have the same life-altering transformation they see happening for the students who are already in the program. You can sign up to be a mentor by clicking here and filling out the required form, you can also request a mentor on the same page.

If you aren’t in Oklahoma City, you can always send in a donation online to make a difference.

comeback kid society


Linktree | @thecomebackkid



Email –

Phone – (405) 652-9692

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 

Bethany Dumbleton is the Chief Operations Officer for Counter Culture mom. She is first and foremost a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

Her husband and two children are her main ministry which overflows into her life ministry. She knows that our children follow our example. She strives to help parents grow in Christ, so they may shepherd their children biblically.

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